Speaking at the Western Sydney Business Connection “State of the Region” event held in Parramatta today, Deloitte Western Sydney managing partner, Danny Rezek told the 550 attendees that that while momentum behind Western Sydney projects is strong, the region cannot afford to take its eye off the ball.
Mr Rezek said that there is unprecedented momentum behind delivering the 133 recommendations that will shape its future.
“Seventy percent of the recommendations made have commenced, and in fact 15 per cent (21) have already been completed despite the original plan of these being commenced over a staggered start based on priority and need,” he said. “This has all been achieved within eighteen months of the five-year program.”
“We are at a crucial time of development to establish a legacy that will affect many of Australia’s next generations,” he said. “Badgery’s Creek alone is now set to become the most connected business district in the country.”
“Western Sydney currently accounts for 8 per cent of Australia’s GDP, represents 10 per cent of Australia’s population, and is expected to account for 15 per cent of Australia’s population growth in the next 25 years,” he said. “Urban growth of this magnitude is a rarity in the cities of advanced nations, so we can’t afford to waste the significant momentum and investment.
As part of a panel discussing “Western Sydney’s Future – investing in people” at the event, Rezek said, “For the region to truly harness its potential, further work needs to be done to ensure we have knowledge-based and skilled jobs growth developed in proportion to other Sydney districts.”
“The Western Sydney district has more than 150,000 small businesses that provide 880,000 jobs. Many of these employ fewer than 20 people, and many will be seeking to harness the opportunities presented by Badgery’s Creek by employing local professional employees to help build their businesses.”
“However, over the next 20 years the number of small businesses is expected to grow to over 250,000.”
Services that support startup and business expansion in the region are known to be thinly distributed and awareness of these services are low. “Steps need to be taken to ensure that talent with professional skills are readily available within the local district, and startup support services should also be boosted,” he said.
One of the recommendations that the Shaping Future Cities Steering Committee is proud of is the commitment to the establishment of the first STEM school at the Sydney Science Park, enabling increased job opportunities in the future world of work.
“The Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) school will be a unique learning community teaching how to code robots, liaise with NASA space stations and discover the latest in IT programming, among other things,” said Rezek.
Another initiative to build the skill base accessible in Western Sydney include TAFE’s “Skills Exchange program”, which helps to integrate better learning by ensuring that skills are taught and developed on the job for existing and entry level workers.
TAFE in collaboration with private sector partners, is establishing new skills exchange programs on Western Sydney based projects such as the Western Sydney Stadium construction, Parramatta Square, Liverpool, Northern Roads upgrade and hopefully in the future, Western Sydney Airport.
The use of the Skills Exchange program is another example of how the region can ensure it has the right talent ready for the unfolding of new infrastructure.
“Another key recommendation of SFC was ensuring the voice of youth was heard in shaping their working future,” said Rezek. “The current Deloitte and TAFE youth barometer survey that is being completed by secondary students across the State will provide a unique voice to the region’s future workers.
“This will better align their career aspirations, skills and training and the broad range of job opportunities being created across Western Sydney,” he said. “We are excited in the role we are playing to make this happen.”